Vinyl Siding Installation
Vinyl siding is a highly affordable, versatile home siding choice. It’s an engineered product made largely of polyvinyl chloride (or PVC) resin and coatings which provide color, flexibility, and durability. The manufacturing process, called co-extrusion, melds two layers of PVC to each other in various thicknesses. Vinyl siding is low maintenance and comes in many colors and profiles, including wood-look boards in clapboard, Dutch lap, board and batten, shakes, and more. Energy-saving versions of vinyl siding, with insulation attached to the siding panel, are also available.
Like other forms of engineered siding, specific steps are involved in installing vinyl siding. You’ll want to make sure you hire the most experienced and recommended professional in your area to handle the job. CLAD Siding can provide you with free quotes from local, licensed, and insured siding contractors in just minutes. Click here to get started today!
Vinyl Siding Repairs
For many homeowners, vinyl siding provides an attractive alternative to wood siding. Vinyl looks a lot like wood and doesn’t peel or chip. It requires minimal maintenance; just clean once-a-year by rinsing with a garden hose and re-paint every ten years. But, before you choose vinyl, it’s important to understand its issues.
Dents & Punctures
Vinyl siding is susceptible to impact damage, especially with thinner gauge material. Dents from hail, baseballs, or even rocks may pop back out, but if it’s been punctured, you’ll need to patch or replace sections.
When vinyl siding gets overly cold, any impact might cause it to crack. The cracks may cause holes that, if not treated immediately, will allow moisture to make its way into the siding, causing the house’s wood frame to rot, mold, and mildew.
Warping from Excessive Sun Exposure
Vinyl siding has been known to warp in hot weather. If you live in an unusually hot climate, vinyl siding can change shape after a few years. While you can replace warped boards, the same issues will happen repeatedly unless you provide shade.
Bright sunlight will cause your vinyl siding to fade. While fading is a cosmetic issue, it can also cause the boards to crack over time.
Vinyl Siding Pros and Cons
Vinyl siding has become the most popular siding material in the country for a variety of reasons. Not only is it affordable and durable, but it can also last for decades with minimal care. Unlike wood siding, these sturdy boards, molded from plastic, will not rot or flake. Vinyl siding is available in dozens of colors and can mimic all kinds of architectural details that were once only available in wood or stone. But, like any manufactured material, vinyl siding has its pros and cons.
Vinyl siding is popular because it’s a low-maintenance cladding. There’s generally no need to reapply paint or caulk joints. Washing it down with a hose once a year is usually the most maintenance you’ll need.
Vinyl siding is a relatively durable product, particularly if it’s high quality and has an insulation backing. It won’t rot like wood, is non-porous, and isn’t threatened by pests like insects or woodpeckers.
Vinyl can be an economical siding option, particularly compared to other choices like brick, stone, or wood. Keep in mind that premium and insulated vinyl products can often cost more than lower-grade versions.
The range of available colors in vinyl siding is fairly broad and different manufacturers have their own selections. Paintable options offer more versatility color-wise, but you’ll have to keep an eye on your siding – watch for any issues, and re-paint as needed.
Vinyl is a flexible material which allows it to absorb impact better than other materials, like metal which can dent when struck. If it’s well-maintained and isn’t exposed to overly harsh weather conditions, vinyl siding can last for years.
Vinyl house siding is available in virtually any profile of siding that you can find in wood. Whether you prefer clapboard or board and batten, you can find it in vinyl siding.
Although it’s fairly flexible, vinyl siding can crack if it’s hit hard enough, especially if it has no backing. Because it’s designed to expand and contract with the weather, it should be installed loosely, but if it’s too loose, wind can get underneath thinner sheets of vinyl siding and lift panels from the wall. It also has a tendency to become brittle when exposed to below freezing temperatures, making it easier for the boards to become cracked or damaged. If your area is prone to extreme heat, cold, or wind, vinyl siding may not be your best choice.
Vinyl house siding isn’t a good option in locations that are prone to seasonal wildfires. Vinyl siding is made from plastic polymers and is not fireproof, so it can easily heat up and cause more damage to your building than other types of siding.
Vinyl siding seams can often be more noticeable because the panels overlap, unlike other types of siding like fiber cement and wood, that have joints. These seams can make the siding look cheap and less attractive.
Expands and contracts
It’s important that vinyl siding be installed correctly because it expands and contracts with the weather. If the siding isn’t installed correctly (i.e. not enough gaps at the end of a row or overly tight nailing) the siding can warp and buckle because it isn’t allowed to “breathe” with temperature fluctuations.
Vinyl siding can fade in sunlight and if your home has areas where the sun hits more than others, you might find the siding color becomes uneven over time. It’s difficult to replace just the faded section because the color may be different than it was when it was new and you’ll have a hard time matching sections.
While manufacturers offer a broad range of color selections, the color you’re looking for may not be available. If you have a special color in mind, you’ll have to buy “virgin” siding and have it treated and painted yourself.
One of the most common complaints about vinyl siding is that lower quality vinyl siding and poor installations can look cheap. Although it’s an affordable and versatile option, it’s not always the best looking – especially close up.
Cost to Install Vinyl Siding – Material and Labor Installation Costs
Vinyl siding costs an average of $4 – $7 per square foot installed, making it one of the least expensive siding materials. The estimate includes costs for labor, materials, and prepping the job site. The average cost to install vinyl siding on a 1,500 square foot home is around $4,500 – $5,500, depending on the quality of the siding and the amount of detail work. Higher quality siding will cost between $10,000 and $11,000 for the entire house. Keep in mind that if you have the contractor install insulation that’s not part of the siding, that will add supplemental costs to the job.
Best Vinyl Siding – How to Choose
If it’s time to replace your siding, and you’ve decided on vinyl, there’re a few important things to know before selecting it as your material of choice. While vinyl siding comes in a wide variety of colors and profiles, there’re also big differences in quality, composition, colorfastness, and more. The following are some of the most important factors to think about when choosing vinyl siding for your home.
Lower quality vinyl siding and poor installations can look cheap. Vinyl might give you an affordable way to cover your house, but you might pay the price in overall aesthetics. Insulation can make the vinyl siding’s appearance more realistic because it will “fill out” the profile. Many horizontal styles of vinyl siding, particularly thinner products, have a concave profile that doesn’t really resemble wood and is a dead giveaway of vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding has a tendency to fade in sunlight and harsh weather. While paint fades too, if you choose vinyl, you’ll want to make sure you buy quality siding that has the color baked in to last longer. Depending on the quality of vinyl you buy, expect some fading after five years or so. If a panel is damaged, replacement panels may not match the original.
Vinyl siding comes with its color mixed into the material, making it somewhat permanent. Should you decide you’d like to change the color down the road, you can paint it, but it’s a process. First, you’ll need to check your warranty to make sure painting the panels won’t void the warranty. Then, you’ll need to prime the siding. Since vinyl siding is designed to expand and contract with the weather, be sure not to paint it a darker color than the original as it may absorb too much heat and warp. Once it’s painted, its composition will be different and it may no longer be low-maintenance.
There are many different grades of vinyl, each with their own price point. The siding’s composition determines its rigidity, strength, and durability. Cheaper vinyl may cost less but it can also look cheap too. Premium vinyl siding offers better quality but may cost as much as other non-vinyl siding choices.
Should you select standard vinyl siding or the insulated variety? Insulated vinyl siding is backed with a layer of insulating foam material. It can be fused to the back of the vinyl or it can come as a separate molded piece that’s installed behind the siding. The main benefit is that it increases the exterior wall’s insulation, making your home more energy-efficient. Insulated vinyl siding is more expensive, but it will increase your home’s R-value (a measure of thermal resistance) and is more durable with the foam backing providing more force against impact.
Vinyl siding is a durable and resistant siding material but does require regular maintenance, just like any other kind of cladding. Over time, it can get covered in dirt and grime that needs to be removed. It can also become discolored from chemicals or common household cleaning products. Manufacturers suggest that you clean your siding at least once a year with a mixture of 70% water/30% vinegar, a soft brush, and a garden hose. Some vinyl siding can withstand low-impact pressure washing but be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations beforehand.
Vinyl is available in dozens of colors, and newer products don’t fade as quickly as older vinyl. The pigmentation is baked through instead of applied to the surface, so the vinyl won’t show damage. When you’re purchasing, make sure to look at both sides of the siding to ensure that the color is not just on one surface.
Vinyl house siding is available in a number of different profiles that mimic all of the traditional types of wood siding such as clapboard, shake, and board and batten. Vinyl siding is also available in styles that mimic the look of stone, brick, and stucco. Close up, cheaper products may not exactly look like the materials they’re simulating due to the fact that they’re made of machine-made plastic.
Vinyl products come in a variety of thicknesses. Thicker products are more rigid and robust and will stand up to physical impact from hail or baseballs better than thinner products. Average vinyl siding is about 0.045” thick with thinner versions around 0.040” and thicker products at 0.054”. Higher grade, or thicker vinyl, will typically cost more than thinner. Do not buy any product thinner than 0.035” as it won’t be robust and you’ll soon be replacing it. Thicker vinyl will usually be insulated and will provide better energy efficiency for your home, along with an additional noise barrier. It’ll also be less susceptible to cracking in cold weather.
Vinyl Siding Profiles Available
Vinyl siding comes in all of the traditional profiles that are available in traditional natural wood siding. It has quickly become one of the most popular siding choices in the country due to the material’s affordability, durability, and because it’s not prone to many of the same issues so prevalent in traditional wood siding, like mold, mildew, rot, and pests. Vinyl siding, if installed correctly and maintained carefully, can last for the life of your home.
Vinyl siding is available in many shapes, sizes, and colors so you can design the perfect look for your project. Some profiles may be more popular in some regions than in others. For example, you may see a lot of shake and shingle siding in New England, beaded vinyl in the South, and vertical siding profiles in the West and Midwest. These days, however, no design is exclusive to one area and a mixture of materials and profiles has become very popular.
Horizontal Lap Siding
- Clapboard: Clapboard profiles are very similar to traditional wood siding, featuring flat boards with straight edges. The clapboard profile has been popular since colonial days when early settlers split logs from pine and cedar to create horizontal panels that would overlap and insulate their homes. Clapboard siding comes in various sizes such as single 6”, double 4”, triple 3”, with single, double or triple referring to the number of rows per panel of siding and the number referring to the height of each row.
- Dutch lap: Dutch lap siding, also known as German and Cove lap siding, originated in northern Europe, although it was made popular in the mid-Atlantic region during the days of early settlers. This profile is a popular alternative to clapboard, featuring strong shadow lines created by the curve at the top of each row. Similar to clapboard, Dutch lap vinyl siding is categorized by the number of rows on a panel, and the height of those rows.
- Beveled: Beveled siding is manufactured to have one edge that’s thicker and one that’s thinner. The boards are lapped from the bottom up, helping to shed water and provide warmth for the home. Vinyl siding recreates the look in wood-like finishes that resemble cedar, pine, and cypress.
- Beaded lap: Beaded lap vinyl siding is similar to clapboard but features an additional rounded bead at the bottom of each board which enhances the shadow line created by each row. This profile was popular on buildings constructed in the south prior to 1800 and maintains its popularity in the area today.
- Dolly Varden: Dolly Varden is a rustic-looking siding profile that resembles beveled siding but is easier to install. It’s created with a “rabbeted” bottom edge so that the siding slots together, similar to tongue and groove, and lies flat along the wall.
- Log Siding: Vinyl siding has been made to emulate many different profiles of wood siding, including log-shaped. This profile has been used in instances where real log cabin construction is not feasible, but the appearance is desired.
- Channel Gap: Channel gap is a type of siding where the boards have been cut so that when installed, there’s a channel, or a deep groove, in the material. It can be installed horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally. In this profile, each board partially overlaps the board below it creating channels that provide beautiful shadow effects and great weather protection. The channels can be any width desired.
- Channel Rustic: Sometimes referred to as channel lap siding, channel rustic siding has a rustic, rough sawn texture. With natural wood, it’s most often installed with the rough side exposed. This also has a portion of the board cut so the wood lies flat with channels in between.
- Nickel Gap: Nickel gap siding is basically the same as channel gap siding, although the gap between the two boards is significantly smaller in this case because of the way it’s been manufactured. You can create a nickel gap effect by placing channel gap boards close together, but nickel gap siding is specifically manufactured to create an even, consistent narrow gap effect.
- Shiplap: Shiplap siding is designed so that the boards join with no space between them when installed, and unlike channel siding, the boards will lie flat with no gaps.
- Tongue and Groove: Tongue and groove vinyl siding recreates the look of traditional wood siding, a method that fits wood boards together with a groove cut into the edge of each board, allowing two flat pieces to be joined strongly together to make a single flat surface. It’s available in a wide assortment of colors and board thicknesses.
Vertical or Board and Batten
Vertical vinyl siding, also known as “board and batten,” is one of the fastest-growing profiles in the country. Vertical siding dates back to medieval times and was enormously popular in the Midwest, mountain regions, and west coast of the US for barns and sheds. Vertical siding alternates wide and narrow panels, with the wide portion being the “board” and the narrow portion being the “batten.” Although traditionally used as an accent, vertical siding can be used to clad an entire house.
Shake and Shingles
Originating in the Northwest and East Coast, hand-split cedar shakes were used to protect early homes from the harsh seaside environment. Today, shakes are used to achieve a natural look and have become very popular as accents on sections such as gables or all over the house. Using vinyl siding shakes provides the same rugged beauty of hand-cut cedar shakes without the ongoing maintenance hassles. Shake siding typically features two types of edges: staggered, which has varying lengths for a more rustic look, or straight, with all shakes being one length for a uniform appearance.
Various profiles of scalloped shingle siding gained popularity in the Northeast during the late 19th century, seen most commonly on Victorian homes. Scallop shingles come in a wide range of profiles and are typically used as accents. Scallop shingle profiles typically refer to the shape that they emulate, i.e. rounded scallops, hexagons, fish scales, octagons, and mitered corners.
Find a Vinyl Siding Contractor Near Me
If you’ve decided it’s time for new vinyl siding, then it’s important you find a reputable contractor who has considerable experience with the material and a reputation for quality work. Hiring a siding contractor who understands the needs of your home and gets the work done on time is critical to having your job done right.
Following are the most important things you should consider when hiring a trusted vinyl siding contractor:
How long has the company been in business?
The last thing you want when spending your hard-earned money on home improvements is to hire a fly-by-night contractor. Be sure to look into the background of any contractor you’re thinking of doing business with. Do they have a local office? How long have they been in business?
Can they provide references?
As part of your research, you’ll want to ask for references for clients the contractor has worked with in the past. They’ll be able to tell you more about the experience of working with the company. Did they deliver on time? Did they do what they promised? Was the quality of the work what was expected?
Ask to see a portfolio
If you don’t have personal references from friends and neighbors for the contractor you’re considering, make sure to ask to see the contractor’s portfolio of previously completed jobs. This is particularly important if you’re having specialty work done on your home, like molded shingles or decorative scallops.
Are they licensed?
It’s important to find out if the contractor is licensed by your state and/or city. Not all states require contractors to be licensed. If your state does, then contractors might have special certifications. A number of cities also require professional licensing. Check with your local licensing authority for requirements where you live.
Does the company have adequate insurance?
A contractor should carry comprehensive general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. General liability insurance protects you if the contractor causes damage to your home or property during the project. Workers’ comp insurance protects you if a worker is injured on your property. Without workers’ comp, you may be responsible for the injured worker’s medical bills.
What warranty do they offer?
Find out in advance what kind of warranty the siding company offers on their work. It should cover their workmanship for a year or more. Make sure you get that warranty in writing as part of a written estimate that outlines the entire scope of the job and all associated costs.
Vinyl siding is easier to install and repair than real wood, is more durable, and provides all kinds of design options. To install, you’ll need an experienced, reputable, certified, and licensed contractor. Get free quotes from vetted vinyl siding contractors near you in just minutes.